“I Am My Next Choice.”

Happy Monday, friends. It’s been a hot sec since we Monday Mantra’d up in here, so let’s chat choices, shall we?

I got to thinking about this as I chowed down on some Cheetos last week. Those things are laced with crack, I swear. Because you can’t just eat one or two. No. It’s half the bag or bust. I’ll be the first to admit – my daily diet lately has been pretty crummy. If I don’t prep in advance, chances are, I’m grabbing whatever’s in the freezer and calling it lunch. Or, I’m just grabbing a pint and calling it TREAT YO’SELF. 😉 And the effects aren’t obvious or immediate – but they’re there.

Too often, we expect immediate results or instant gratification from our choices. And when they fail to be as such, we make the mistake of thinking there just weren’t any results – and that just ain’t the case. After about a week of less-than-stellar eating choices, I had a breakout. I was more bloated. My pants were too tight. I felt…gross. And I realized, the fact that I wasn’t drinking enough water and hadn’t had a vegetable in two days was probably contributing to that feeling.

Have you felt that, too?

I could’ve probably found something under the sun to blame, but really, it came down to one thing: myself. It was my choice to buy the Cheetos, and it was my choice to eat the Cheetos…and to eat them in one sitting like I did. Ha! 😉 No one forced that orange, totally artificial-but-addicting cheesiness onto me – it was me. Same goes for anytime I said I’d work out and then just…didn’t. No one was physically holding me back from the gym; sure, a six-month-old in the house makes that more difficult, but I’ve got a trampoline, free weights, yoga mats, jump ropes, AND an exercise bike at home to make it happen – so “I didn’t have time to go to the gym” ain’t even an excuse to not break a sweat! The average adult makes 35,000 choices everyday on average (consciously), so every single second is a choice to do, eat, try, say, or be one thing over another.

So what’s a girl to do when there are choices to be made about everything under the sun? Choice exhaustion is a real thing (it’s called “decision fatigue” in psychology land!), and it can feel paralyzing to just get stuck in a cycle of choosing this or choosing that, especially if making decisions isn’t our favorite thing or strongest suit.

The solution is NOT to get down in the dumps on ourselves – because that really doesn’t help anyone.

The solution, instead, is to hold ourselves accountable. Own the choice. But then…own the NEXT choice, and make it better.

"I Am My Next Choice - not my last." - On Choices and Owning Ours, on Coming Up Roses

Our choices are catalysts for chain reactions – domino effects for better or worse that determine not only the course of the rest of a day, but the course of the rest of a life sometimes. We’ve all seen it in action – someone’s choice about their health or wellness from two decades ago coming to bite them in the butt now, or a choice about a relationship coming back into play in a few years.

In today’s society, we end up seeing a weird phenomenon where some folks are over-the-top relaxed in this you do you!, YOLO mentality with no idea of consequence in mind, while others are so strict on themselves to the point of unhealthy habits or unintentional self-harm. When really, owning our choices doesn’t have to be either – it just has to be taken objectively instead of personally, in an effort to help us blossom into our best selves.

We are not defined by the choices of our past – or, at least, we don’t have to be.

We are defined by our NEXT choice. Because your next choice determines your next day, which determines your next week and your next life. Life after grief, life after hardship, life after pain, life after bad choices…it’s marked by what you do next, not what you did last.

I am my next choice – not my last.

First thing’s first: if you’ve been holding a past choice against yourself, please girlfriend…forgive yourself. As hard as it might be – let it go. Let yourself move on from it. The hardest, most necessary option is to give yourself grace, always, while still taking ownership of your own choices – and in that same vein, your own life. Your choice today may have consequence tomorrow, for better or worse. The butterfly effect begins once the chrysalis starts forming, so to speak. And the choices we make today determine the peace we feel tomorrow.

If you’re on a health journey, for example, striving to make healthier everyday choices, you might:

  • Choose the salad over the burger.
  • Choose the run over the couch.
  • Choose the water over the Diet Coke.

Seemingly simple choices that, in time, compound for big impact.

I am my NEXT choice – not my last.

Of course, you know I’m ALL ABOUT a good #TreatYoSelf – so think big picture here, people. A one-time choice may be different than a trending choice, albeit a one-time choice may still be life-altering. It’s up to us to consider each choice with a fine-enough comb to determine if the potential outcome sways our decision one way or another.

Every single second is the chance for a new choice to alter the path. And this doesn’t always mean adding, doing, or being MORE – something it means less, too.

  • Instead of hustling on extra work, the moment of quiet prayer we choose today means peace tomorrow.
  • Instead of extra miles in a run, the bubble bath today means relaxation tomorrow.
  • Instead of adding more clothes to your cart, the closet clean out means less clutter tomorrow.

Self-fulling prophecy is a thing, friends. Give yourself the grace to move on past old, bad choices if for nothing else but to stop them from determining any more of our present or future. When we let our past define us, that’s also a choice.

Let your past choices influence your future choices – not define them.

The choice is still yours.

It always is.

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